Green Your Cup – The World’s First Recyclable Coffee Cup
Despite stereotypically being considered a tea-drinking nation, the UK is fast becoming a major coffee consumer, with the likes of high street brands such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee fuelling our caffeine buzz and catering to our busy lifestyles.
With the rise of coffee drinking comes the rise of the takeaway cups, and every year this causes a headache for the environment agency and those working in the recycling industry.
A staggering 2.5 billion paper cups are thrown away in the UK annually, leading to around 25,000 tonnes of landfill and very few being recycled.
The problem stems from the makeup of the standard takeaway coffee cup, which, although appearing to be made from paper, actually has a laminated plastic layer, meaning it cannot be recycled in the same manner as other paper and cardboard.
This layer is due to EU regulations, which state that cups made entirely from paper and cardboard are not allowed under health and safety concerns. The plastic forms a barrier, retaining the structural integrity of the cardboard while keeping drinks warm.
However, as it is attached tightly to the cardboard, it is only separable by specialist machinery that most waste processing plants simply don’t have.
Green Your Cup
Luckily, there may be a viable solution to this issue. British entrepreneur Martin Myerscough has created an alternative to the standard takeaway coffee container, christened the Green Your Cup.
The concept is simple: instead of removing the plastic altogether and risk falling foul of EU regulations, Green Your Cup makes the layer easily removable, allowing it to become separated during waste processing and the cardboard elements recycled accordingly.
This obviously has hugely positive ramifications, as now coffee cups can be disposed of in the same places as newspaper, cardboard and the like, and it’s looking like we might be seeing Green Your Cup products in coffee shops and supermarkets by 2015.
Mysercough himself has previous experience in this field, having already created GreenBottle back in 2005. Tackling a similar problem – this time plastic milk bottles – the GreenBottle applies exactly the same logic that would form the basis of Green Your Cup a few years later, with a plastic liner attached to a wood fibre bottle. Again, the liner is easily detachable during processing, making it easy to integrate with existing recycling lines.
The Myerscough approach is straightforward enough for him to apply to a number of different products (he even created a ‘cardboard’ wine bottle that is much lighter than glass, reducing the fuel use needed to transport it), and has certainly gone a long way towards reducing the amount of landfill in the UK every year.
As one of the leading providers of recycling services in the region, Woodford Recycling are ideally placed to provide skip hire, waste management, hazardous waste disposal and more to domestic and commercial customers throughout Huntingdon, Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedford and beyond.
Our waste management facilities are equipped to recycle up to 85% of the waste we receive, and our expert team are on hand to carry out potentially dangerous asbestos and hazardous waste disposal. Get in touch with Woodford Recycling today to find out more.